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July 26, 2000
Dara Sena spreads terror in Mayurbhanj
M I Khan in Bhubaneswar
Dara Singh, the prime suspect in the murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons, may be languishing in a prison, but his organisation - the dreaded Dara Sena - is spreading terror in the Mayurbhanj district in tribal Orissa.
"Several cases of the Dara Sena using its clout to extort money from farmers and poor tribals have been reported in the past few months," said a senior official of the district administration.
Congress MLA Biren Palei raised the issue in the state assembly on Monday. Replying to Palei, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik admitted that some Dara Sena members had threatened people and extorted money from them.
Patnaik said three Dara Sena leaders -- Mukesh Jain, Pradip Kumar Choudhry and Ranjan Kumar Sahu -- were arrested recently and cases were registered against them at Karanjia, Baripada and Thakurmunda police stations.
Choudhry and Sahu had also been detained under the National Security Act by the district collectors of Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar respectively, he said.
The Dara Sena, named after Dara Singh, was first floated as non-political outfit by Jain, a Delhi-based businessman. However, now the organisation has made its political ambitions public.
The organisation has 7,000 members in Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts and Jain recently said that Dara Singh would contest assembly elections from Baripada, where Staines' widow, Gladys, lives with her daughter.
Jain and Choudhry's arrest was denounced by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and its affiliate bodies, indicating that the Dara Sena enjoys considerable support among the Hindutva forces.
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